On the way back into 19th century, the central railway system of Germany now gets de-centralized and in the regions the railway public transport is handled by smaller, sometimes county based companies. This can have a positive side-effect like those brand new suburban cars, but also results in some weird occurences: Completely to the surprise of this local railway company, the “Berchtesgadener Land Bahn”, the alps were erected quasi overnight, and for monthes those new cars had to remain unused until a special permit to use them on mountain tracks could be obtained. Of course neither the railway company nor the central administration for railway security was responsible… But now the new system is working, the staff is friendly and competent, and whilst de-centralization and competetion didn’t result yet in lower prices (they should, isn’t it? That’s why de-centralisation and competition are introduced.), at least service didn’t downgrade 🙂
The rail lines in Europe are so much more advanced and more pleasurable to use than here in the US. I love trains. I would use them more if they didn’t always travel through slums and concrete jungles 🙂
Glen, in the densely populated states of Europe trains have had a high importance throughout the times, even during the boom years of automobiles. So they are really sophisticated and, on the main routes, really fast now. But to really enjoy there quality, you have to travel by train in South America or Asia (I did in Sri Lanka recently), and then come back. *This* makes you really grateful.
*g* – the alps erected overnight … (things are not so much different with DB today, though). I do not get used to this decentralisation (being an railway employee’s daughter – DB of course when it was still the Deutsche Bundesbahn) I am always amazed to see all this different companies and wondering if and how it will work out. Better for the customer or not?
When I was a boy, the Märklin model railroad offered “Länderbahn” waggons, referring to those times when each state had their own railroad company. It seems that these times are coming back. Speculating about the reasons offers to reasonable explanations: A local railroad system adds to the fame of the district chief executive vulgo “Landrat”, who is an elected person and wants to convince the voters, and/or the fact that local companies can make cheaper contracts with their employees. Now we have the choice: Scylla and Charybdis?